The agricultural sector incorporates both irrigation and livestock farms. The majority of the potential is in irrigation hardware improvements.

Agricultural Measure Bundles by End Use

The measures by application are:

  • Irrigation
    • Irrigation hardware system efficiency improvements, which includes replacement of defective parts (e.g. gaskets, sprinklers, lines) and upgrade from high pressure to medium- or low-pressure systems (including both sprinkler equipment changes and pressure reduction).
    • Irrigation controls, or installation of a variable rate irrigation system
    • Green motor rewind[1] for irrigation systems
  • Dairy Farm Improvements
    • Variable speed motors for vacuum pumps and milk transfer pumps
    • Refrigeration system improvements including plate milk pre-coolers, heat recovery refrigeration, and compressor upgrades
    • Energy efficient lighting
    • Ventilation improvements including high-volume low speed fans and efficient high-speed fans
  • Other
    • Energy-free stock watering tanks
    • Stationary engine circulating block heater for backup generators

Major and New Agricultural Measures

New measures in the 2021 Plan include: variable rate irrigation (the largest source of new potential at nine average megawatts), energy-free stock watering tanks, pump and compressor upgrades, variable speed drives for dairy milk transfer pumps, high volume low speed and efficient high speed fans in livestock buildings, and stationary engine circulating block heaters for backup generators. Along with these new measures, there were a few additions to existing measures in the Seventh Power Plan. Namely, the 2021 Plan assessment included sprinkler package replacement as part of a sprinkler system improvement from high-pressure to medium or low-pressure systems and more applications of green motor rewind, specifically for surface and tailwater pumps. Although variable rate irrigation is a significant source of potential, it is currently very expensive – more than $200 per megawatt-hour. There may be specific applications that result in more cost-effective savings, but further research would be required.

One notable measure from the Seventh Plan that is not included in the 2021 Plan is scientific irrigation scheduling, known as SIS. The RTF found in 2017 that the baseline practices by irrigators were comparable to what is accomplished through SIS; in other words, irrigation practices have improved such that an SIS program was no longer required.

Agricultural Measure Not Included in 2021 Plan

There are several other energy efficiency measures that were not included in the 2021 Plan due to limited data or resources. Some of these measures are: refrigeration measures such as evaporative condensers, floating head pressure controls, water-side economizers; measures for hog/pig and poultry industries, efficient mister nozzles, thermostatically controlled outlets. Although excluded from the 2021 Plan, these measures may be feasible for energy efficiency programs to pursue.

[1] Rewinding an induction motor that is intended to preserve its original efficiency